Meeting Minutes

Region 19 700MHz Committee


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Massachusetts State Police General Headquarters,

470 Worcester Road, Rt 9

Framingham, MA 01702



Mr. Jerry Zarwanski chaired the meeting.  The meeting started at 10:00AM.  Chairman Zarwarnski noted that a Quorum was present for this meeting. An agenda was emailed to all committee members and copies were available for those attending the meeting.  Several members called in on the telephone conference bridge.


Attendees participating by Conf Call:


Steve Mallory- State of Maine

George Carbonnell- AASHTO Coordinator



First item on the agenda:  Approval of Minutes


A copy of the minutes from the last meeting was available.  A motion was raised to approve the minutes by Jim Kowalik. A correction to the spelling for State of Maine MSCOMMNET was proposed and corrected. The minutes were seconded by Mr. Steve Verbil and approved as corrected by unanimous vote.


Second item on the agenda: State Updates


Connecticut: Mr. Verbil updated the status of the Public Safety Data Network (PSDN) which has been completed. Phase I for 112 nodes (PSAPs/state facilities) utilizing fiber optics essentially complete. Phase II of the fiber installations for the PSDN is approximately 90% installed out to an additional 450 sites. Provisioning of circuits is underway and the project team is confident they will meet the BTOP federal grant requirement for completion of the PSDN project by September 1 of 2013.


Massachusetts: Mr. John Ruggeiro provided an update for the Metro Boston 700 Overlay Project. The project is funded and staging will begin in two weeks. When complete, the 8 site simulcast system will serve the Boston Metro area within the 128 corridor. Completion is expected by July 2013.


New Hampshire:  Mr. Tom Bardwell reported the state of New Hampshire’s BTOP SafeNet IP Microwave and Fiber Optic program is in the acceptance testing phase and is underway. The next phase will include completing the installation of microwave equipment at a few remaining remote mountain top sites and switching circuits over from the existing TDM microwave network to the IP core network. Completion of the BTOP network is planned for June 30, 2013 and is still on schedule.


Mr. Kowalik gave a brief update on FIRSTNET activity in NH. A DOS committee was formed to advise the Commissioner's office regarding Grant funding availability and network planning activities. Future committee sessions are scheduled for the June or July time period. 


Rhode Island:  Mr. Brian Glancy reported the State is continuing to install the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) High Performance Data (HPD) 700 MHz system. They need  to resolve a few frequency issues which are being addressed so the project can continue to move forward.


Maine: Mr. Steve Mallory representing the State of Maine stated MSCOMMNET is moving forward with the assistance of the OIT department.


Vermont:  Initial testing of the 700 MHz portion of the VCOMM system is underway. Some interference issues with the VT Transportation radios need to be resolved. The project is utilizing State of VT allocated 700 MHz frequencies and continues to move forward.  


Vermont has formed a FIRSTNET committee. Lost the chairman to the private sector, and is regrouping at this time. VT is intending to participate in the FIRSTNET process as soon as possible.


Third item on the agenda:   FCC Update and 700 MHz broadband Legislation


Mr. Zarwanski indicated he received a letter of intent from the State of RI stating that the State of RI will be building out a State 700 MHz system using State 700 MHz frequency. The purpose of the letter was to voluntarily report the 700 MHz activity to the RPC and regional SWIC personnel attending the RPC meetings.


Chairman Zarwarnski restated the FCC requirement for states holding 700MHz “State Licenses” provide or be prepared to provide “substantial service” to one-third of their population or territory by June 13, 2014 and two-third of their population or territory by June 13, 2019. If a state licensee fails to meet any condition of the grant, the state license is modified automatically to the frequencies and geographic areas where the state certifies that it is providing substantial service. The FCC indicated that the recovered “State License” spectrum will revert to 700MHz “General Use” spectrum.


Mr. Zarwanski reported the state of Connecticut and the State of RI are moving forward with building out the “State 700 MHz systems using State Licenses”. Mr Zito requested a follow up meeting with RI representative in reference the 700 MHz frequencies they've identified for use in their system.


The committee provided an update on the FCC First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) documentation (H.R. 3630 ) and initial Grant Funding available to each state.  Mr. Zarwanski advised attendees to notify their local SWICs or agency heads to apply for the initial planning funds by the deadline of March 19, 2013. Copies of the HR 3630 are being provided at this meeting or can be accessed on the FCC web site.


Mr. Zarwanski provided a brief discussion regarding the addition of $5B  proposed by the FCC to install the nationwide broadband network, He also stated the bill allows the auctioning off of the T-Band UHF frequencies to acquire additional funds which would be applied to the FIRSNET project. Current users of the T-Band spectrum will be moved to other spectrum which has yet to be identified. Copies of the FCC notice regarding the T-BAND reallocation are being provided at this meeting or can be accessed on the FCC web site. A brief discussion among the meeting attendees regarding the T-Band issue occurred.


Fourth item on the agenda: Application Engineering


Mr. Zarwanski reviewed the RPC committee's recommendation for a common software engineering application for reviewing Region 19 700/800MHz applications. Additional discussion occurred with reference to previous recommendations to have all applicants provide an Excel spreadsheet identifying specific site parameters in a format that can be imported into ATDI Spectrum E software application currently used by APCO Local Frequency Advisers. This would allow the RPC technical subcommittee to utilize Spectrum E since most of the committee members have access to the Spectrum E software. The National RPC committee has had similar discussion for a national common software platform by creating a lead person familiar with multiple software applications to advise the NRPC. The person currently taking the lead on this item is Mr. Joe Yurman of NYC Transit. 


Further discussion regarding issues with the spreadsheet format indicates that coordination issues between regions would still occur due to differences in each RPC frequency allocation guidelines and parameters. The Committee indicated that further study of this issue will continue with the goal of a common software engineering platform and similar technical requirements for concurrence between regions.  The NRPC is also looking for funding of the common software platform. However, the timing of that is unknown at this time. Mr Zito advised the committee that his research indicates engineering disparities between regions will have a detrimental affect on Region 19 member states. He indicated that Region 19 needs to make themselves more competitive with surrounding regions which are licensing channels with less restrictive parameters. Particularly regarding orphan channels, reducing the available pool of usable frequencies for Region 19.  It was stated that the adjacent regions was using CAPRAD data to allocate frequencies without real engineering data to support their use.


Chairman Zarwarnski advised attendees to submit 700 MHz applications that would use frequencies along the regional borders as quickly as possible to allow the technical subcommittee to analyze the frequency sharing issues and allocate use of the needed frequencies.  Mr. Sutherland advised the Chairman to consider the legal considerations regarding how the committee will oversee and contend the regional sharing issues.


Attendee Ed Lushco, Representative from Bristol, CT stated he believe the engineering issues should come under discussion by Federal national bodies who have the jurisdiction to guide local RPC entities. Chairman Zarwarnski reiterated the fact that this RPC (and all others) is actually a subset of the FCC and has been given a certain level of jurisdiction regarding the allocation of the 700 MHZ frequencies. He indicated that the NRPC is also reviewing the engineering issues between regions on a national level. Further discussion followed from Mr. Kowalik and FEMA Region 1 SWIC Mr. Andreano that advised Chairman Zarwarnski to consider informally discussing the regional issues at the NRPC and FCC levels to gather support for possible challenges to the adjacent region allocations, since both regions are operating under FCC approved plans. Chairman Zarwarnski proved further discussions related to the adjacent state approval process. He indicated that the RPCs generally have agreed to use the CAPRAD database to document the frequency allocations for each region and state.


Note: These discussions are also being considered as committee work related to Agenda Item # 6 NRPC for purposes of this meeting.


Regarding the Region 19 Technical Subcommittee, Chairman Zarwarnski advised the committee that Mr. John Masciadrelli was no longer able to serve as chairman of the technical subcommittee and asked for a volunteer to take over the duties. Nominations were open and Mr. Scott Wright of CT was nominated by Mr. Zito, seconded by Mr. Verbil. A further nomination for an Alternate Chairman was put forth. Mr. John Ruggeiro of MA was nominated by Mr. Kowalik, seconded by Mr. Verbil. Mr. Wright and Mr. Ruggeiro received unanimous approval by committee vote. Mr Verbil let it be known to members that additional technical assistance from multiple members other than Connecticut is needed on the subcommittee and all volunteer help is appreciated.


Discussion occurred in reference how members can gain access to the CAPRAD system. CAPRAD administrator George Carbonnell advised the attendees to contact himself or CAPRAD administrator Jim Kowalik to report their access needs to them. It was noted that members should gain access to both region 8 and region 19 CAPRAD.


Fifth item on the agenda: Region 19 Plan/Application CT State Police


Mr. Zarwanski informed the committee that a number of applications from Region 8, sixth or seventh window are forth coming. Region 19 technical subcommittee has complied with reviewing Region 8 concurrence requests using CAPRAD. The Connecticut State Police still have one application in process with Region 8 and 30 concurrence.


Mr. Zarwarnski noted that he has been receiving more Region 8 modification requests via email and being posted on CAPRAD for review. The technical committee members should go on CAPRAD and begin reviewing the new applications (mods) as soon as possible. Mr. Wright will advise technical sub committee members of the date and time for the next conference call.


Sixth item on the agenda: NRPC


Covered under Item #4 Discussions – See above.


Seventh item on the agenda: Region 8 and 30 700MHz Applications


Mr. Zarwanski announced Suffolk County New York, the only remaining application in Region 8’s Window One submission period has been withdrawn. The application had been denied concurrence by Region 19 three times for inconsistencies between their FCC 601 Form and their CAPRAD submitted application. 


The Region 8 Window 3, Westchester County application remains pending.


Mr. Zarwanski stated Region 8 Window’s 4, 5 and 6. Monmouth County was expedited and the applications were granted inter-regional concurrence.


 New Business


Chairman Zarwarnski made note to the attendees of a letter received from State of MA to advise the committee that they are implementing a 4.9 GHz links as backhaul. Mr. Zarwanski noted that FIRSTNET is also considering using 4.9 GHz as backhaul, future  conflicts may occur.  Future FCC reports will follow in regard to 4.9GHz use. Further discussion in reference to the use of 4.9 GHz followed including the fact that the FCC may change the rules related to the use of 4.9 GHz. So entities using 4.9 GHz should file the notification as required by the Region 19 700 MHz plan to make sure their use is noted.


Chairman Zarwarnski reviewed the current membership of the 700 MHz committee. A number of slots are available and anyone who wishes to become a member should send a letter to Chairman Zarwarnski for review and approval.


Mr. Wright advised the committee members who are using APX 7000 radios should use the latest CPS software which corrects certain issues, one being the ability to enter the proper (new) 700 MHz frequencies.


Chairman Zarwanski informed the attendees of a good website from Andrew Seybold regarding FIRSTNET progress.


With no further comments or new business, Mr. Steve Verbil motioned for adjournment.  Mr. Steven Brown seconded the motion.  The next meeting will be held at the Putney Volunteer Fire Dept., Putney, VT  on June 11, 2013.


All present agreed to adjourn at 11:50A.M.